Episode Guide

Words To That Effect Season 1

Season One (Preview)

Welcome to Words To That Effect. A preview and and introduction.

Ep1 Words To That Effect Invasion Fiction

Ep1: Invasion Fiction, William Le Queux, and Fake News

Who was the mysterious William LeQueux? Can a group of authors save the world?

Ep2: Arthur Conan Doyle, Sherlock Holmes, and Spiritualism

Why did the creator of Sherlock Holmes fervently believe in ghosts and fairies?

Ep3: Irish Science Fiction

Ireland is not necessarily the first country that springs to mind when you think “science fiction”. Think again.

Ep4: Popular Literature

Is there really such a thing as “Literature” (with a capital “L”)?

Ep5: Canals on Mars

For as long as humans have been looking at the night sky, the planet Mars has fascinated us. But in 1877 everything changed.

Neurasthenia WTTE

Ep6: Neurasthenia, Cowboys, and Feminism

Neurasthenia: "The National Disease of America"

Malthus Overpopulation WTTE

Ep7: Overpopulation from Malthus to Manila

On 30th October 2011, in the Philippines, A baby girl was born. She was the seven billionth person on earth.

Ep8: A Lawyer, an Author, and a Murderer

The "most horrible crime of the 1920s" brings together a troubled murderer, an inquisitive lawyer, and a world famous author of popular fiction.

Ruritania WTTE

Ep9: Imaginary Countries and the Ruritanian Romance

Livonia, Wallaria, Tazbekistan… Writers make up countries all the time. But Ruritania is different.

Words To That Effect Podcast Ep10 (Robinsonade & Robinson Crusoe)

Ep10: From Robinson Crusoe to Survivor: The Robinsonade

Daniel Defoe’s novel has left a lasting, powerful, complicated, and often dangerous myth in the popular imagination.

Ep11 Words To That Effect (Cesare Lombroso)

Ep11: Cesare Lombroso and The Born Criminal

Cesare Lombroso: the Father of Criminology. His ideas were groundbreaking, controversial, and spectacularly wrong.

Words To That Effect Podcast Ep 12 History of Zombies

Ep12: The Horrifically Complicated History of Zombies

Films, books, games, comics, flash mobs, cocktails, and corporations. Whether we like it or not, the zombies are coming for us all.

MR James Ghost Stories Words To That Effect Podcast

Ep13: The Ghost Stories of M.R. James

MR James' tales are, in so many ways, what we think of when we think of the Victorian ghost story: dusty manuscripts, creaking old houses or libraries, menacing ghostly apparitions.

Words To That Effect Podcast Season 2

Season Two (Preview)

A preview of what's to come on Season Two

Words To That Effect Ep 14: Weird Fiction & HP Lovecraft

Ep14: Weird Fiction and H.P. Lovecraft

H.P. Lovecraft’s writing is a unsettling world, a weird mythos, in which cosmic entities are terrifyingly revealed. And he has never been more influential.

Ep15 Scarlet Pimpernel (Words To That Effect)

Ep15: The Scarlet Pimpernel & Baroness Orczy

A Hungarian baroness who created the first masked superhero and became a pioneer of detective fiction.

Ep16 Words To That Effect (Transhumanism)

Ep16: Transhumanism, Immortality, and Fiction

Can humans live forever? The transhumanist future is one in which technology and biology have merged in ways that are in equal part fascinating and terrifying.

Ep17: The 10% Brain Myth

The idea that we use only 10% of our brain capacity is surprisingly widespread. Where does it come from and what does it say about us?

Words To That Effect Ep 18 Utopian Literature

Ep18: What is Utopia?

(Part 1 of 2) The story of three journeys, by three people, in three very different times, each ending in the west of Ireland. Three journeys founded on a search for utopia.

Words To That Effect Ep19 (Climate Change Fiction & Utopia)

Ep19: Climate Change Fiction

(Part 2 of 2). From the history of utopia to the future of the planet. How can fiction save the world?

Words To That Effect Ep20 Domestic Noir

Ep20: Domestic Noir

Is our culture perversely preoccupied with the deaths and disappearances of young, pretty, white girls? And why are there so many novels with "girl" in the title?

Words To That Effect Ep 21 Invention of Victorian Time

Ep21: The Invention of Time

Time, as we understand it today, was only really invented in the Victorian era.

Words To That Effect Book Clubs ep

Ep22: Book Clubs

Politics, culture, education, commerce. There’s much more to the book club than wine and cheese.

Ep23 Literary Adaptation Words To That Effect

Ep23: Adaptation

The book is always better than the film. Or so they say. But how exactly does a book become a film anyway?

Words To That Effect Live at Liberty Hall - tw

Ep24: WTTE Live at Liberty Hall

WTTE live, as part of the Dublin Podcast Festival!

Words To That Effect Season 3 Preview

Season 3 (Preview)

What's to come on Season 3

Ep25 Dinosaurs in Fiction - Words To That Effect


How do we get from Victorian gentlemen looking at strange fossils, to dinosaur pyjamas for kids?

Ep26 Mummy Unwrapping

Ep26: Unwrapping the Egyptian Mummy

In Victorian times you could go to a mummy unwrapping party. Our fascination with mummies has never waned since. But do we need to rethink our problematic engagement with the dead?

Ep27: Post-Apocalyptic Fiction

What happens after the end of the world? How do we write about it?

Ep28: Pulp Fiction

All pulp magazine science fiction was written by men and aimed at 12-year-old boys...right?

Four-dimensional space (Words To That Effect Ep29)

Ep29: Travels in Four-Dimensional Space

What would we find if we could access the 4th dimension?

Steampunk - WTTE Ep30

Ep30: Steampunk I

A genre? A movement? A fashion? A lifestyle? Steampunk is many things to many people.

Steampunk 2

Ep31: Steampunk II

There's the steam. And the punk. The strange Victorian history and the unique fringe communities.

Golden Age Detective Fiction - Words To That Effect Ep32

Ep32: Golden Age Detective Fiction

There's a murder, there are clues, there are rules. Or are there?

Fantasy Literature - WTTE Ep 33

Ep33: Fantasy Literature

Understanding the pop culture behemoth that is modern fantasy.

Art of the Short Story

Ep34: The Art of the Short Story

What can a short story do, that no other form of literature can?

Season 4 (Preview)

October 2019. Season 4.

Jekyll and Hyde (WTTE Ep 35)

Ep35: Jeykll & Hyde

There are many sides to the story of Jekyll & Hyde.

Varney the Vampire - WTTE Ep 36

Ep36: Varney the Vampire

Public executions, penny bloods, and the most popular vampire of them all.

The golden age of piracy

Ep37: The Golden Age of Piracy

Peg legs and eyepatches, pirate accents and the jolly roger. True stories and romanticized myths.

Ep 38 Children's picture books

Ep38: Children's Picture Books

Unlike other forms of literature, EVERYONE has an opinion about children's books.

ep39 edgar rice burroughs

Ep39: Edgar Rice Burroughs

The man who created Tarzan....and so much more.

Time travel ep 40

Ep40: Time Travel Tales

In a way, all fiction is time travel fiction.

Romance Novels Mills & Boon

Ep41: Romance Novels

Romance fiction gets a pretty bad rap.

Ep42 Missing Link

Ep42: The Missing Link

The missing link and the origin of our species. And some great fiction.

lost books - wtte ep43

Ep43: Lost Books

How do you bring a book back from the dead?

Words Dunnit

Ep44: Words Dunnit

A complete history of detective fiction....sort of. (Live show)

WTTE Season 5 Trailer

Season 5 Preview

What's to come on season 5...


Ep45: Mashups and Frankenfiction

Does Pride and Prejudice need more zombies? Is everything a remix?

Weird Westerns - Words To That Effect Ep 46

Ep46: Weird Westerns

In a way, westerns have always been weird.

Ep 48 antarctica

Ep48: Fictions of Antarctica

Gothic and horror to ecothrillers and more

WTTE Ep49 robots

Ep49: Robots

The robot uprising is coming. Or is it?

Ep 50 Arsene Lupin

Ep50: Arsène Lupin

The literary origins of the gentleman thief

Desert fiction - WTTE 51

Ep51: Desert Fictions

Deserts in culture from the Bible to Nietzsche to Mad Max to Salvagepunk

ep52 gothic forests

Ep52: Gothic Forests

If the monsters lurking in the forest don't get you, the forest itself will...

Food in Fiction

Ep53: Food in Fiction

Some fava beans and a nice Chianti...

Underwater civilizations - WTTE Ep 54

Ep54: Underwater Civilizations

Homo Aquaticus and life beneath the waves

WTTE Season 6

Season 6 Preview

What's to come on Season 6...

Words To That Effect Podcast - Ep 55: A History of Dragons

Ep 55: A History of Dragons

From Beowulf to Tolkien and quite a lot in between.

Arthurian Romance (Words To That Effect Ep 55)

Ep 56: Arthurian Romance

Camelot, Merlin, Excalibur, The Knights of the Round Table. A story that's a thousand years old.

WTTE Ep 57 Sensation Novel

Ep 57: The Sensation Novel

Scandal, blackmail, bigamy, fraud, murder. The literary sensation of the 1860s.

Words To That Effect Bonus: Cliffhanger

A Word To That Effect: Cliffhanger (Bonus Ep)

Victorian gentlemen hanging by a thread!

Serendipity Words To That Effect

A Word To That Effect: Serendipity (Bonus Ep)

Gothic castles, lost camels, and a happy coincidence

WTTE Ep 58 Origins of the Gothic

Ep 58: The Origins of the Gothic

What does the word "gothic" mean to you?

Words To That Effect ep 59 Robin Hood

Ep 59: Robin Hood

The most famous outlaw of them all...